Stop violence, initiate dialogue, urges Rights Group

[TamilNet, Thursday, 27 April 2006, 16:11 GMT]
FORUM-ASIA, a membership-based human rights organization with regional secretariat based in Bankok Thailand in a press release issued Thursday espressed deep concern urged the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers to "immediately stop the violence and to iniitate dialogue." The release said, "War inevitably violates human rights and destroys human lives and this must be avoided at all costs. Civilians in the North and East as well as other parts of the country, particularly women and children, will bear the brunt of violence."

Full text of the release follows:

War must be avoided at all costs in Sri Lanka LTTE and the Government must immediately stop violence and initiate dialogue

FORUM-ASIA expresses its deep concern about the escalating violence in Sri Lanka, including yesterdayâs suicide bombing in Colombo and retaliatory aerial bombings in the East. War inevitably violateshuman rights and destroys human lives and this must be avoided at all costs. Civilians in the North and East as well as other parts of the country, particularly women and children, will bear the brunt of violence.

We call on the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers ofTamil Eelam (LTTE) to immediately halt all acts of violence andresume dialogue, through their respective Peace Secretariats, withthe support of civil society groups and international community. As the two parties that yield considerable political and military influence, particularly in the North and East, their joint political will is essential to stop the violence.

In addition to heavy toll on human lives, we are extremely concernedabout the negative impact the violence will have on confidencebuilding between the government and LTTE, as well as amongstSinhalese, Tamil and Muslim communities. Years of work onreconciliation between various communities by civil society groups are in danger of being shattered by the violence.

The Government has the prime responsibility to ensure the rule of lawand protection of all Sri Lankan peoples. Thus, we strongly condemnthe security forces complicity in the killings and destruction ofproperty that happened in Trincomalee earlier this month. It istotally unacceptable that state security forces stand by and watchpremeditated ethnic rioting. Alleged aerial bombings and shelling inthe East resulting in civilian causalities, in the aftermath of the sucide bombing in Colombo shows that this trend of retaliation by security forces continues.

We also condemn the violence attributed to the LTTE ö particularly the use of claymore mines, killings of Sinhalese civilians and suicide bombing, which have taken a heavy toll of lives.

We stress that retaliatory violence will only breed further violence,and can never bring about a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Ifthe LTTE hopes to gain recognition as a legitimate organization representing Tamil peoples, they could only do so by renouncing violence. If the Sri Lankan government expects the internationalcommunity to recognize it as a government that respects human rights, in particular, at this time support its candidature at the electionsto the UN Human Rights Council, its security forces should focus onprotecting all civilians, irrespective of their ethnicity, instead of engaging in indiscriminate and arbitrary retaliatory attacks.


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